|The Iron Duke at Waterloo.|
On the morning of the battle of Waterloo, Marshal Soult dared to question Napoleon’s plans. Napoleon snapped, ‘Because you have been beaten by Wellington, you think he is a great man.’ But he’d finally met his match. Bonaparte’s decisive defeat by coalition forces at Waterloo on 18 June 1815 ended his career, and decades of war.
The Duke of Wellington was a national hero, but Waterloo had a massive human cost; over 11,600 British and Hanoverian troops died in this battle alone. Relief funds were set up to aid the widows and orphans of British soldiers killed during the war.
Many special events are planned to remember this landmark battle. You can watch live re-enactments of the main battles on the internet (subscription payable) - tickets to see the events in person are sold out.
However, if you can't make it to Belgium, there’s a guide to the battlefield here, and the National Army Museum is commemorating the bicentenary with a series of events and exhibitions across the UK (some free) And if your ancestor fought at Waterloo, you may be interested in the Waterloo 200 Descendants Book.
Images from the author's collection:
The Duke of Wellington on the Field of Waterloo. Cassell’s Illustrated History of England Vol. VI, (Cassell, Petter and Galpin, c.1864).
Napoleon, from an old engraving of a picture by Bouillon. Napoleon: Warrior and Ruler, (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1893).
Formation of the Lines of Battle at
Warrior and Ruler, (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1893.)